Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Prediction of the Day? Delta Airlines is about to go down

I've read three stories about Delata Airlines today ::: prices going up for baggage, a dead woman found in a bathroom, and a woman with MS having to cral off of a plane (and still missing her connector.)

Just terrible.

(By going down I mean bankruptcy, of course...)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Middle Finger To The NYTimes... DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS!

Just when you think they couldn't sink lower... (oh all right all right... of course they could...) the NYTimes publishes the following story with what they must believe is a relative of the victims':

Texas Turns Aside Pressure on Execution of 5 Mexicans

HOUSTON — Despite pleas from the White House and the State Department, as well as an international court order to review their cases, Texas will execute five Mexicans on death row, a spokeswoman for the governor said Thursday.

The first of the executions — that of José Ernesto Medellín, 33, convicted in the 1993 rape and murder of two teenage girls here — is scheduled for Aug. 5.

The decision by Gov. Rick Perry to allow the executions is the latest twist in a long-running battle between Mexico, which has no death penalty, and the United States over the fate of 51 Mexicans facing capital punishment in several states, including 14 in Texas.

On Wednesday, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ordered a review of five of the Texas cases after Mexico complained that the convicts, all men, had not been allowed a chance to talk to a Mexican consul after their arrests, as required under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

But that argument holds little sway in Texas, a place with a long history of upholding the death penalty and of telling other governments to mind their own business.

“This ruling doesn’t change anything,” said Mr. Perry’s spokeswoman, Allison Castle. “This is an individual who brutally gang-raped and murdered two teenage women. We don’t really care where you are from; you can’t do that to our citizens.”

The ruling went further than a 2004 decision by the international court, which again sided with Mexico, ordering a review of all 51 cases to determine if a consul’s intervention might have changed the outcome.


Mr. Perry, a Republican, stood firm, saying the Supreme Court ruling in March had freed Texas to go ahead with the executions, starting with that of Mr. Medellín, one of six young men that a jury found had raped and strangled Elizabeth Peña, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 15, in a park one night.

Mr. Medellín was 18 at the time and had lived most of his life in Texas; he signed a confession in English.

A spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, Ricardo Alday, accused Texas of “an irreparable breach of international obligation” if it did not delay the executions until Congress could act on Mr. Berman’s bill.

A lawyer representing Mr. Medellín, Donald Francis Donovan of New York, said he would seek such a delay in Texas state court.

“Everyone agrees that the U.S. made a deal here,” Mr. Donovan said, “and for Texas to breach that deal when it was made by the people of the United States as a whole would not be right.”

For relatives of the murdered girls, questions about international relations seem irrelevant.

“This has nothing to do with the World Court; it has nothing to do with the U.N.,” said Jennifer’s father, Randy Ertman. “This has everything to do with what Mexico wants, not what Texas wants. The people of Texas want the death penalty.”

Ashley Marchand contributed reporting.

So that victim's relative's picture that accompanied the article... one of the parents of the raped and murdered girls (who, by the way, WERE KICKED TO DEATH!)? No, no of course not. It's a picture of the poor rapist and murderer's granny. And she looks so sad.

: |

Here two more quotes from the (real victims') dads:

Randy Ertman, father of Jennifer, a 14-year-old girl Medellin raped and murdered, criticized the World Court for attempting to intervene.

“The world court doesn’t mean diddly,” he said. “This business belongs in the State of Texas. The people of the State of Texas support the execution. We thank them. The rest of them can go to hell.”

Adolfo Peña, father of Elizabeth, a 16-year-old girl Medellin also raped and murdered, concurred with Ertman.

“I believe we’ve been through all the red tape we can go through,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “It’s time to rock and roll.”

Starbucks Closings ::: Women and Minorities Hit Hardest!

There's a long-standing, running joke -- and a personal fave... that a predictable NYTimes headline would be "World Ends: Women and Minorities Hit Hardest".

Guess no one told it to the folks at the Chicago Tribune.

Cafe closings hit minority areas

Starbucks lists 18 shops in, near city

By Barbara Rose and Wailin Wong

Chicago Tribune reporters

July 18, 2008

Starbucks has identified 18 stores in the Chicago area among the 600 nationwide targeted to close through March 2009, including several in minority neighborhoods that had counted on the green-and-white medallion to signal rebirth.


The closings include stores in largely minority areas in the south suburbs as well as neighborhoods on Chicago's South and West Sides. "Starbucks became symbolic of a community that was changing and in transition," said Earnest Gates, executive director of the Near West Side Community Development Corp. "To take that away, it's a blow to a community."

Word began spreading in North Lawndale about a week ago that the Starbucks at Roosevelt Road and Homan Avenue, open about 18 months, was on the closing list. That outlet, as well as another one slated for closing at East 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue, were built as part of Urban Coffee Opportunities, a venture between Starbucks and Earvin "Magic" Johnson's urban development firm to bring cafes to minority areas.

"It's horrible it's closing down," Phil Jackson, associate pastor at Lawndale Community Church, said of the location in his neighborhood. "We can't stand for that place to be closing down. It's jobs. We've got college students working there, adults that have management skills that can be seen and observed by Starbucks. They could run their own store one day."

Jackson said Starbucks must have known the store would need time to prosper.

"The people in the community have to make it family, make it a part of their own, and sometimes that takes longer than a year and a half," he said. "For Starbucks to look at all the communities that are already suffering, and then to close the stores that they are closing is really kind of hypocritical. [They] started the store knowing what the community was all about. You come here so you can uplift the community."

Starbucks said in a statement that it used several criteria to identify stores for closing, including those that were not profitable and "not believed to provide acceptable returns in the foreseeable future." It also said "consideration was given to the impact of the current and anticipated economic trends."

"We have always aspired to put our people first," Starbucks said. "This makes our decision to close stores more difficult, because it disrupts the lives of the people who have worked so hard to deliver superior service to our customers."

Tribune reporters Sandra M. Jones and Susan Chandler contributed to this report.

I think some of these folks need to understand the nature of business. Businesses exist to make profits, to supply to a demand, not to "uplift" communities. That's the job of churches and charities.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tony Snow's Funeral: President Bush's Eulogy

President Bush Attends Funeral Service for Tony Snow
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Washington, D.C.

10:16 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Archbishop Wuerl, Father O'Connell, Mr. Vice President, members of the Cabinet and my administration, members of Congress, distinguished guests; most importantly, the Snow family, Jill, Robbie, Kendall, Kristi and Jim, and other family members; former colleagues of Tony. Laura and I are privileged to join you today to pay our final respects to a cherished friend.

Tony Snow was a man of uncommon decency and compassion. He was a devoted husband, a proud and loving father, an adoring son, a beloved colleague, and a wonderful role model and friend.

In a life that was far too brief, he amassed a rare record of accomplishment. He applied his gifted mind to many fields: as a columnist, newspaper editor, TV anchor, radio host, and musician. He had the sometimes challenging distinction of working for two Presidents named Bush. As a speechwriter in my Dad's administration, Tony tried to translate the President's policies into English. (Laughter.) As a spokesman in my administration, Tony tried to translate my English into English. (Laughter.)

Tony always gave me good and candid advice. He was a man of profound substance who loved ideas, held strong beliefs, and reveled in defending them. He took very seriously his duty to inform the public about what its government was doing during historic times for our nation.

In the White House briefing room, Tony worked to build a relationship of candor and trust with the press corps. On his first day at the podium, he told the gathered reporters this: "One of the reasons I took this job is not only because I believe in the President, but because, believe it or not, I want to work with you." Tony was the first working journalist to serve as the White House Press Secretary for nearly 30 years. He knew the job of a reporter was rigorous. He admired the profession -- and always treated it with respect. And the presence of so many members of the Fourth Estate here today attests to the admiration and respect that he earned.

Of course, Tony's adjustment from commentator to spokesman was not seamless. Ann Compton of ABC recently recalled that when you asked Tony a question, he would sometimes get going, and she would have to stop him and say: "Tony, wait, I asked what the President thought." (Laughter.)

Tony brought a fierce and challenging intellect to his duties. And he displayed an engaging wit. When a reporter asked a rather labored question about Congress, Tony did not answer it. The persistent reporter pressed him: "Are you going to just evade that question?" With a smile, Tony quipped: "No, I'm going to laugh at it." (Laughter.)

I believe the reason Tony was so good at his job is that he looked at the world in a joyful way. He was a proud patriot who believed in America's goodness, and an optimist who knew America's possibilities. He believed strongly in the wisdom of the American people. And throughout his career, he took a special pride in being a vigorous and unapologetic defender of our men and women in uniform. He supported their missions, saw honor in their achievements, and found every possible opportunity to highlight their character and courage.

Tony Snow, the professional, is a hard act to follow. Tony Snow, the man, is simply irreplaceable. Everyone who worked with him quickly grew to love him. We will always remember his wry sense of humor and abundant goodness. We'll also remember he was just a lot of fun. After all, he played six different musical instruments and was a proud member of a band called Beats Working. He may be one of the few people in history to have jammed on the South Lawn of the White House and with Jethro Tull. (Laughter.)

We remember Tony's thoughtfulness. No matter how busy he was, this was a man who put others first. He would go out of his way to ask about people's families. He would check in with friends whenever he heard they were ill. He'd reach out to others, sometimes strangers, who were struggling with cancer. Even when he was going through difficult chemotherapy sessions, he sent inspirational e-mails to a friend whose son was suffering from a serious illness.

We remember Tony's resilient spirit. When he received a second diagnosis of cancer, he did not turn to despair. He saw it as another challenge to tackle. He found comfort in the prayers he received from millions of Americans. As he told the graduates here at Catholic University last year, "Never underestimate the power of other people's love and prayer. They have incredible power. It's as if I've been carried on the shoulders of an entire army. And they made me weightless."

Most of all, we remember Tony's love of his family. There was no doubt for Tony Snow that his family was first. When Jill reached a milestone birthday, Tony had a huge celebration. He later said that he and Jill danced that night as if they were teenagers. He said he was the most fortunate man in the world to have shared love like that. So, today, Jill, our hearts are with you, and we thank you for giving Tony such a special life.

For Robbie, Kendall, and Kristi, you are in our thoughts and prayers, as well. We thank you for sharing your dad with us. He talked about you all the time. He wanted nothing more than your happiness and success. You know, I used to call Tony on the weekends to get his advice. And invariably, I found him with you on the soccer field, or at a swim meet, or helping with your homework. He loved you a lot. Today I hope you know that we loved him a lot, too.

I know it's hard to make sense of today. It is impossible to fully comprehend why such a good and vital man was taken from us so soon. But these are the great mysteries of life -- and Tony knew as well as anyone that they're not ours to unveil.

The day Tony was born was also the day that many of his fellow Catholics pay tribute to Saint Justin. Justin was also a gifted thinker and writer, and a powerful witness for the Christian faith. Because of his beliefs, he suffered many times of trial, and in the year 165 A.D. he was arrested. Before he received a sentence of death, he was asked: "If you are killed, do you suppose you will go to heaven?" Justin replied: "I do not suppose it, but I know and am fully persuaded of it."

Tony Snow knew that, as well. That brought him great peace. When talking about the struggle he waged so admirably, he said that no matter how bad times may sometimes seem, "God doesn't promise tomorrow, he does promise eternity."

And so today we send this man of faith and character and joy on his final journey. Tony Snow has left the City of Washington for the City of God. May he find eternal rest in the arms of his Savior. And may the Author of all creation watch over his family and all those who loved him, admired him, and will always cherish his memory.

END 10:25 A.M. EDT

Here is a link to the pictures at Yahoo.

Obama's Bitter Half... Still Not Getting It ::: Michelle Obama's $600 Earrings

Michelle Obama's $600 Earrings

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, complained the government’s $600 economic stimulus check was only enough to buy “a pair of earrings” while stumping for her husband.

“You're getting $600 - what can you do with that?” Mrs. Obama said in Pontiac, Michigan last week. “Not to be ungrateful or anything, but maybe it pays down a bill, but it doesn't pay down every bill every month. The short-term quick fix kinda stuff sounds good, and it may even feel good that first month when you get that check, and then you go out and you buy a pair of earrings."

She made these remarks at a “working women’s roundtable discussion.”

Although Mrs. Obama has been praised by fashionable outlets like Vogue magazine for her sense of style, her comments about $600 earrings reinforces an unflattering image of the Ivy-league educated Obama lawyers. They’ve both been called “elitist” several times though the course of the presidential campaign season.

Mr. Obama’s former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton called him at “elitist” for telling donors at a private fundraiser in San Francisco that “bitter” Americans in places like Pennsylvania “cling to guns or religion.”

Mrs. Obama has similarly come under fire for saying her husband’s candidacy made her proud of her country for “the first time in my life” and encouraging women to “move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry” in Zanesville, Ohio—one of the poorest areas of the nation.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The sun never sets on the insanity in Britain: Pensioner arrested for chasing away youths with plank - Telegraph

3-year-olds that don't like spicy foods are burgeoning racists, commercials with puppies are off the air for being offensive to Muslims, and now yet another edition of "Arrest the Good Guy":

Pensioner arrested for chasing away youths with plank - Telegraph

A pensioner who used a piece of wood to chase away a gang of teenagers who had been throwing stones at his home is facing a jail term after being arrested and charged with possessing an offensive weapon.

Sydney Davis, 65, a father-of-two, dialled 999 when his home in the Pinehurst area of Swindon, Wilts, came under attack.

But when police failed to turn up over the next two hours he decided to take action himself.

He grabbed a section of wood from a broken-up sofa lying in his front garden and chased the youths down the street - just as police officers finally arrived.

Mr Davis, a retired builder, was astonished when police arrested him while allowing the gang to run to safety.

The householder now faces a court appearance and a potential prison term of six months if convicted.

Mr Davis, whose windows have been smashed five times in the last eight months, branded the law "a colossal ass".

He went on: "This is Britain gone mad. Just what in the world is this country coming to when the police arrest people like me for protecting their own property?

"The police say they want to reduce crime, yet they let evil little toe-rags like this off. Then they prosecute hard-working, upstanding residents like me.

"There is simply no way we can shake off this problem of 'Yob Britain' if the legal system fails to protect the everyday person".

Mr Davis' difficulties began on July 2 when a gang started throwing stones, stick, mud and eggs at a number of homes.

His wife, Pauline, 42, and their sons, Peter, seven, and James, five, cowered behind the sofa as the windows were hit by a flurry of missiles.

"My wife called the police at 6pm, but they just kept on throwing stones through my back gate.

"I left the back door open to stop them smashing it. Suddenly a really big rock came crashing into the kitchen. I just grabbed the wood, which was the nearest thing I could find, and chased them off.

"The police turned up just as I was chasing them. As a result I was arrested, but they didn't arrest any of them."

Mr Davis was handcuffed, taken to a local police station and later charged.

Wiltshire Police confirmed both the charge against him and the fact that no one else had been arrested in connection with the incident.

The householder is expected to appear before local magistrates later in the month.

Cancer's Unexpected Blessings | by Tony Snow

Cancer's Unexpected Blessings | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Cancer's Unexpected Blessings

When you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change.

Commentator and broadcaster Tony Snow announced that he had colon cancer in 2005. Following surgery and chemo-therapy, Snow joined the Bush administration in April 2006 as press secretary. Unfortunately, on March 23 Snow, 51, a husband and father of three, announced that the cancer had recurred, with tumors found in his abdomen—leading to surgery in April, followed by more chemotherapy. Snow went back to work in the White House Briefing Room on May 30, but resigned August 31. CT asked Snow what spiritual lessons he has been learning through the ordeal.

Blessings arrive in unexpected packages—in my case, cancer.

Those of us with potentially fatal diseases—and there are millions in America today—find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God's will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence What It All Means, Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.

The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the why questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is—a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.

But despite this—because of it—God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life—and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many nonbelieving hearts—an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live—fully, richly, exuberantly—no matter how their days may be numbered.

Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease—smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see—but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and comprehension—and yet don't. By his love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise.

'You Have Been Called'

Picture yourself in a hospital bed. The fog of anesthesia has begun to wear away. A doctor stands at your feet; a loved one holds your hand at the side. "It's cancer," the healer announces.

The natural reaction is to turn to God and ask him to serve as a cosmic Santa. "Dear God, make it all go away. Make everything simpler." But another voice whispers: "You have been called." Your quandary has drawn you closer to God, closer to those you love, closer to the issues that matter—and has dragged into insignificance the banal concerns that occupy our "normal time."

There's another kind of response, although usually short-lived—an inexplicable shudder of excitement, as if a clarifying moment of calamity has swept away everything trivial and tinny, and placed before us the challenge of important questions.

The moment you enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death, things change. You discover that Christianity is not something doughy, passive, pious, and soft. Faith may be the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. But it also draws you into a world shorn of fearful caution. The life of belief teems with thrills, boldness, danger, shocks, reversals, triumphs, and epiphanies. Think of Paul, traipsing though the known world and contemplating trips to what must have seemed the antipodes (Spain), shaking the dust from his sandals, worrying not about the morrow, but only about the moment.

There's nothing wilder than a life of humble virtue—for it is through selflessness and service that God wrings from our bodies and spirits the most we ever could give, the most we ever could offer, and the most we ever could do.

Finally, we can let love change everything. When Jesus was faced with the prospect of crucifixion, he grieved not for himself, but for us. He cried for Jerusalem before entering the holy city. From the Cross, he took on the cumulative burden of human sin and weakness, and begged for forgiveness on our behalf.

We get repeated chances to learn that life is not about us—that we acquire purpose and satisfaction by sharing in God's love for others. Sickness gets us partway there. It reminds us of our limitations and dependence. But it also gives us a chance to serve the healthy. A minister friend of mine observes that people suffering grave afflictions often acquire the faith of two people, while loved ones accept the burden of two people's worries and fears.

Learning How to Live

Most of us have watched friends as they drifted toward God's arms not with resignation, but with peace and hope. In so doing, they have taught us not how to die, but how to live. They have emulated Christ by transmitting the power and authority of love.

I sat by my best friend's bedside a few years ago as a wasting cancer took him away. He kept at his table a worn Bible and a 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. A shattering grief disabled his family, many of his old friends, and at least one priest. Here was a humble and very good guy, someone who apologized when he winced with pain because he thought it made his guest uncomfortable. He retained his equanimity and good humor literally until his last conscious moment. "I'm going to try to beat [this cancer]," he told me several months before he died. "But if I don't, I'll see you on the other side."

His gift was to remind everyone around him that even though God doesn't promise us tomorrow, he does promise us eternity—filled with life and love we cannot comprehend—and that one can in the throes of sickness point the rest of us toward timeless truths that will help us weather future storms.

Through such trials, God bids us to choose: Do we believe, or do we not? Will we be bold enough to love, daring enough to serve, humble enough to submit, and strong enough to acknowledge our limitations? Can we surrender our concern in things that don't matter so that we might devote our remaining days to things that do?

When our faith flags, he throws reminders in our way. Think of the prayer warriors in our midst. They change things, and those of us who have been on the receiving end of their petitions and intercessions know it.

It is hard to describe, but there are times when suddenly the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and you feel a surge of the Spirit. Somehow you just know: Others have chosen, when talking to the Author of all creation, to lift us up—to speak of us!

This is love of a very special order. But so is the ability to sit back and appreciate the wonder of every created thing. The mere thought of death somehow makes every blessing vivid, every happiness more luminous and intense. We may not know how our contest with sickness will end, but we have felt the ineluctable touch of God.

What is man that Thou art mindful of him? We don't know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place—in the hollow of God's hand.

Too too sad ... Rest in peace, Tony Snow... you were a good man. - Tony Snow, Former White House Press Secretary and FOX News Anchor, Dies at 53 - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum

Tony Snow, Former White House Press Secretary and FOX News Anchor, Dies at 53

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tony Snow, the former White House press secretary and conservative pundit who bedeviled the press corps and charmed millions as a FOX News television and radio host, died Saturday after a long bout with cancer. He was 53.

A syndicated columnist, editor, TV anchor, radio show host and musician, Snow worked in nearly every medium in a career that spanned more than 30 years.

Click here for photos.

"Laura and I are deeply saddened by the death of our dear friend Tony Snow," President Bush said in a written statement. "The Snow family has lost a beloved husband and father. And America has lost a devoted public servant and a man of character."

Snow died at 2 a.m. Saturday at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Snow joined FOX in 1996 as the original anchor of "FOX News Sunday" and hosted "Weekend Live" and a radio program, "The Tony Snow Show," before departing in 2006.

"It's a tremendous loss for us who knew him, but it's also a loss for the country," Roger Ailes, chairman of FOX News, said Saturday morning about Snow, calling him a "renaissance man."


Click here to watch Brit Hume's tribute to Tony Snow.

As a TV pundit and commentator for FOX News, Snow often was critical of Bush before he became the president's third press secretary, following Ari Fleischer and Scott McClellan. He was an instant study in the job, mastering the position — and the White House press corps — with apparent ease.

"One of the reasons I took this job is not only to work with the president, but, believe it or not, to work with all of you," Snow told reporters when he stepped into the post in 2006. "These are times that are going to be very challenging."

During a tenure marked by friendly jousting with journalists, Snow often danced around the press corps, occasionally correcting their grammar and speech even as he responded to their questions.

"Tony did his job with more flair than almost any press secretary before him," said William McGurn, Bush's former chief speechwriter. "He loved the give-and-take. But that was possible only because Tony was a man of substance who had real beliefs and principles that he was more than able to defend."

As he announced Snow as his new press secretary in May 2006, Bush praised him as "a man of courage [and] a man of integrity." Snow presided over some of the toughest fights of Bush's presidency, defending the administration during the Iraq war and the CIA leak investigation.

"I felt comfortable enough to interrupt him when he was BSing, and he kind of knew it, and he'd shut up and move on," Snow said.

His tenure at the White House lasted 17 months and was interrupted by his second bout with cancer.

FOX Facts: Tony Snow's Battle With Cancer

Snow had his colon removed and underwent six months of chemotherapy after he was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2005. In 2007 he announced his cancer had recurred and spread to his liver, and he had a malignant growth removed from his abdominal area.

He resigned from the White House six months later, in September 2007, citing not his health but a need to earn more than the $168,000 a year he was paid in the government post. He was replaced by his deputy, Dana Perino, Bush's current press secretary.

After taking time off to recuperate, Snow joined CNN as a political commentator early this year.

At the White House, Snow brought partisan zeal and the skills of a seasoned performer to the task of explaining and defending the president's policies. During daily briefings he challenged reporters, scolded them and questioned their motives as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing.

"The White House has lost a great friend and a great colleague," said Perino in a statement released to the media. "We all loved watching him at the podium, but most of all we learned how to love our families and treat each other."

Critics suggested Snow was turning the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation. He was the first press secretary, by his own accounting, to travel the country raising money for Republican candidates.

As a commentator, he had not always been on the president's side. He once called Bush "something of an embarrassment" in conservative circles and criticized what he called Bush's "lackluster" domestic policy.

A sometime fill-in host for Rush Limbaugh, Snow said he loved the intimacy of his radio audience.

"I don't think you ever arrive," he said. "I think anybody who thinks they've arrived or made it, anywhere in the media — they're nuts."

Robert Anthony Snow was born June 1, 1955, in Berea, Ky., the son of a teacher and nurse. He graduated from Davidson College in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in philosophy, and he taught briefly in Kenya before embarking on his journalism career.

Because of his love for writing, Snow took a job as an editorial writer for the Greensboro Record in North Carolina and went on to run the editorial pages at the Newport News (Virginia) Daily Press, Detroit News and Washington Times. He became a nationally syndicated columnist, and in 1991 he became director of speechwriting for President George H.W. Bush.

"He served people, and we can learn from that. He was kind, and we can learn from that. He was just a good person," the senior Bush told FOX News.

Remembering Tony Snow

Snow played six instruments — saxophone, trombone, flute, piccolo, accordion and guitar — and was in a D.C. cover band called Beats Workin'. He also was a film buff.

"He was a great musician," Ailes said. "And he loved movies."

More than anything, said Snow's colleagues, he was a joy to work with.

"He was a lot of fun," his former FOX News producer Griff Jenkins said. "This is a loss of a family member."

FOX News Chief Washington Correspondent Jim Angle called Snow a "gentleman."

Snow is survived by his wife, Jill Ellen Walker, whom he married in 1987; their son, Robbie; and daughters, Kendall and Kristi.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

New JibJab: What We Call The News Video

I LOVE JibJab. Enjoy!

New JibJab: What We Call The News Video

Thursday, July 10, 2008

AJC: Obama's frequent regrets may make us sorry

Obama's frequent regrets may make us sorry

For the Journal-Constitution
Published on: 07/10/08

Barack Obama just may be the most regretful figure in American politics, no small feat for a freshman senator.

On Wednesday, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said he regretted allowing his young daughters to participate in a family TV interview with "Access Hollywood."

It was an abrupt shift from decision to regret, even for Obama. The family sat down for the interview on July 4, and the first segment ran on July 8. By the next morning, Obama was saying he regretted including his daughters, even before the other two parts of the interview could air.

I'm not sure why. The interview was nothing but happy public relations, revealing that the Obamas enjoy riding bikes together and that the senator isn't a big dessert fan. (Pies are an exception.)

I suppose there may be a handful of humorless activists out there somewhere carping that Obama was "exploiting" his kids for political gain, but that would be an absurd complaint.

The guy is running for president of the United States, for heaven's sake. Family members have been a constant in American politics for a long time. And Obama having his daughters at his side in a puffy little holiday interview should have been no big deal to anyone.

So what jumped out at me was how quickly Obama regretted his decision. And that, in turn, made me wonder how often the senator has regretted other choices. Answer: pretty often. (Googling "Obama" and "regrets" yields more than a million hits.)

In November 2006, Obama said he regretted buying property adjacent to his Chicago home from Tony Rezko, a longtime supporter and big-time fund-raiser who has since been convicted of mail and wire fraud, aiding and abetting bribery and money laundering.

In February 2007, as his presidential campaign was beginning, Obama said he regretted saying that the lives of American soldiers who died fighting in Iraq had been "wasted."

In April 2008, Obama said he regretted his choice of words when he told some well-heeled donors in San Francisco that "bitter" folks in Middle America who have lost economic hope "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them."

To be sure, these are choices worth regretting. Anyone can understand why Obama would regret his land deal with a convicted felon. And even liberal Democrats like Obama have been careful not to say American lives have been "wasted" in Iraq, even as they imply the same thing when they dismiss the war effort as corrupt, inept, unnecessary and worse.

Obama's most costly regret, however, may well prove to be his condescending shot at those decent, hardworking Americans he said were desperately clinging to God and guns and bigotry. It was a regret-worthy statement that said volumes about Obama's easy contempt for those in what elites call "flyover country."

Perhaps the American people are looking for a regretful guy this time around. After eight years of George W. Bush, whose dogged lack of regrets continues to exasperate his critics, perhaps this sort of intense self-scrutiny and navel-gazing will translate into electoral victory.

But I'm not so sure. After all, a lot of Americans understand that you don't get a bunch of easy do-overs in the Oval Office. You have to make tough calls, even when they may be politically costly.

I can't help wondering what Obama might regret in four years as president. What might he regret doing —- or not doing —- on the world stage? What might he regret saying —- or not saying —- to Putin or Kim Jong-il or Ahmadinejad?

Only time will tell. Depending on what happens in November, we may begin to find out next January. When we do, some voters may well have regrets of their own.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Leno on Green DNC

Democrats are preparing for their convention in Denver. They have hired the first ever director of “greening.” They say this will ensure everything about their convention will be green . . . including nominating a candidate who’s only been a senator for a couple of years.

Obama Wants Us To Learn Spanish? How About English?! Dallas County officials spar over 'black hole' comment

It's NiggardlyGate Part II!

Dallas City Hall Blog | The Dallas Morning News

A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon.

County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole."

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term. A black hole, according to Webster's, is perhaps "the invisible remains of a collapsed star, with an intense gravitational field from which neither light nor matter can escape."


Painful, eh?

Speaking of NiggardlyGate... found this tidbit as well, from the WaPo:

D.C. Mayor Acted 'Hastily,' Will Rehire Aide


The mayor said that an internal review had "confirmed for me that Mr. Howard did use the word 'niggardly,' but did not use a racial epithet" during a Jan. 15 discussion with two employees of the Office of the Public Advocate. "Niggardly" means miserly and has no racial connotation.


An "internal review"? Which consisted of what? Consulting a dictionary?

But back to Dallas...

Reading the comments at the original link, all citizens of The Big D seem appropriately embarrassed by the insanity... except for one commenter who had this gem to add to the conversation:

It's rude to use "black" in a negative context -- scientific, maybe, but rude.

We're so done.

But yeah, Barack, let's demand Americans learn Spanish... so we can be illiterate in
two languages!

Camille Time! (My Favorite Bestest Liberal!)

Camille is responding to letters in Salon this week, and I must blog this great snippet. It's in response to a gay man's disappointment with her using the term "turning gay", and, in her reply, she perfectly parses what has also been my understanding/gleaning from those around me who have chosen "alternative lifestyles":

I have said many times before that I do not believe homosexuality is inborn but that it is an adaptation to specific circumstances and possibilities. What many gay men are remembering as their innate gayness was in fact some other attribute (often an artistic gene) that may have led to a dislocation from roughhousing male bonding. The sex instinct, which comes later, is in my view heavily symbolic among human beings. (Post-structuralism, among its many pathetic flaws, is helpless with symbolism.)

Once the symbolism of erotic attraction is deeply implanted in the brain, it is almost impossible to change it (my note... "almost" impossible but not, NOT, totally). And in a just society, sexual orientation would not be subject to such pressures anyhow. Everyone, in my strong opinion, has the potential for bisexual response and expression. Hence I think both exclusive heterosexuality and exclusive homosexuality do need to be "explained." I understand the biological imperative of hormones, which drive male and female to mate and reproduce. But why is anyone entirely gay? It seems incontrovertible to me that at root there is indeed a dissatisfaction of some kind with the opposite sex, grounded in early experiences and reinforced in adolescence. There is not a single gay person whom I have known over the course of my life since high school for whom childhood factors played no role whatever in his or her adult choice. And yes, behavior is a choice, even if fantasy and imagination are uncontrollable.

One cannot help what thoughts one has, but to say that one cannot choose to act upon them, or not, destroys the basis for civilized life. (Think islamic societies where women must be covered up in order to protect them from otherwise uncontrollable men. We think, "Savages!"... and rightfully so!)


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